Little Rituals opens and it’s not your traditional hotel bar

When Little Rituals opened last week in downtown Phoenix it raised the bar for other hotel bars. Located on the 4th floor of the Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn the cocktail bar is the mastermind of mixologists Aaron Defeo and Ross Simon. DeFeo is no stranger to hotel bars as he was property mixologist at Tucson’s Casino del Sol Resort. Simon is the owner of downtown’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.

Little rituals owners Aaron DeFeo & Ross Simon. All photos courtesy of Little Rituals

The bar joins Broken Shaker ( Miami, L.A., Chicago & NYC) and Death Co. (NYC & Denver)  to offer guests and locals a unique hotel bar experience. Open daily from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. guests can expect 30 custom cocktails along with beer, wine and gourmet bites from consulting chef Bob Tam. Interesting touches at the independently owned bar include hand stamped ice, espresso martinis on tap and a pairing menu.

Preparation and education is key

What you don’t see is as important as what you see and sip on. DeFeo and Simon have created a culture of extensive staff training and drink preparation. Cocktails are made with house-made foams, infusions, garnishes, syrups and more. The menu focuses on the use of aromatic vermouth’s and sherry’s.

The cocktails are in 6 categories with 5 cocktails each.

  • Daily Rituals (Boilermakers, Siroco Spritz and a precisely-chilled, grapefruit-finished Session Martini)
  • Delicious Rituals (exciting flavor combinations such as the honey, citrus and curry-spiced Daiqurry)
  • Cooling Rituals (heat-busting combos such as the frothy Amalfi Frappe or the cucumber-y Touch of Evil)
  • Stirred & Silky Rituals (elegant twists on classics such as the sherry-spiked Cask of Amontillado)
  • Indulgent Rituals (complex flavors such as the Cartographer with overproof rum, cardamom and creole bitters)
  • Shared Rituals (ever-changing selection of punches, pitchers and the aforementioned Bubbles & Fries)

Apertivo hour is from 4-6 p.m. daily and offers discounted prices on a rotating list of cocktails, beer, wine and bites.

The bar bites menu offers 10 dishes including Beet Carpacio, Millionaire’s Bacon Board and Carbonara Lo Mein from the Hong Kong born chef Tam. Make sure you save room for the High Spirited Desserts.

The hotel is at 132 S. Central Ave. Phoenix 85004. 602-603-2050. Visit the website and their Facebook page for more information.

Check out the new lunch menu at Ghost Ranch in Tempe

One of the “Best New Restaurants” in 2018 was Ghost Ranch which recently introduced a new lunch menu. The south Tempe restaurant opened in August and it’s not un-common for a restaurant to make changes to their menu. Seasonal availability of ingredients is one of the biggest reasons restaurant mix it up on a regular basis.

With then popularity of the local restaurant scene to keep people coming back you need to offer new and exciting dishes on a regular basis. New restaurants open daily around the Phoenix area and people can easily be distracted with the latest and greatest restaurant.

New lunch menu

The new lunch menu offers a variety of delicious meals for everybody and includes….

Torta—Chile Colorado braised pork, avocado, tomato, cabbage slaw, aioli, Noble Telera Bread and served with choice of Rancho Papas or side salad.

Tacos—Choice of protein (pork, steak or chicken), homemade tortillas, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, red and green salsas. Served with rice and beans.

EnchiladasChoice of pork, chicken or veggie with red or green sauce. Served with rice and beans.

Rice Bowl—Choice of pork, chicken or veggies, rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and cotija.

Soup and Salad—Cup of Pumpkin Soup and ½ salad.

Ghost Ranch also mixed it up with their Happy Hour menu. Everyday from 3 – 6p.m. guests can enjoy selected $3 appetizers, $5 selected wines by the glass, cocktails and well drinks or $1 off beer.

Ghost Ranch is at 1006 E. Warner Rd. Tempe 85284.

Forget the ex at the Anti-Valentine’s Day party at Hula’s Modern Tiki

Looking to burn a picture of your ex or not feeling very romantic this Valentine’s Day you’re not alone. It is for that reason that Hula’s Modern Tiki in Phoenix and Scottsdale are throwing an Anti-Valentine’s Day party.

Anti-Valentine's Day
Black Heart Social Club Martini. All photos courtesy of Hula’s Modern Tiki

“Roses are red, violets are blue, no one hates Valentine’s Day more than, you! Except for us!” says Hula’s Modern Tiki owner, M. Dana Mule.

Singles and couples are welcome to Anti-Valentine’s Day party starting at 11 a.m. and going til closing. The “Black Hearts Social Club Martini” and the “You Drive Me Bananas” cocktails along with Pinot Gris Sangria will make you forget the ex.

After 6 p.m. enjoy $15 bottles of Prosecco and Rose and 1/2 off other bottles of wine.

Burn photos and memories of lover’s of the past in “Pele’s Fire Pit of Revenge” on the patio at their Phoenix restaurant.

Hula’s Modern Tiki is at 5114 N. 7th St. Phoenix 85014 and 7213 E. 1st Ave. Scottsdale 85251.

Spinelli’s Pizzeria offers CBD infused cocktails and pizza

The pain relieving extract from the marijuana plant, Cannabidiol (CBD) is showing up on restaurant menus and in food products. The non- psychoactive ingredient won’t get you high but will help you with physical and mental issues. Spinelli’s Pizzeria on Mill Ave. has introduced CBD infused pizza’s and 6 infused specialty cocktails.

“I truly believe in innovative forms of treating pain and mood disorders and I’m so proud we’re the first bar and restaurant in the area to offer CBD extract to our guests,” said Christopher Palma, owner of Spinelli’s Pizzeria.

Guests can add a single dose of CBD oil to any cocktail, soda, beer or slice of pizza for pizza $5. To add to a whole pizza it’s $10. Spinelli's Pizzeria

6 CBD infused specialty cocktails are available for the month of February and are described below.

The Drug Mule– Tito’s Vodka, Agwa de Bolivia, Goslings Ginger Beer, fresh mint, CBD Extract $12

CBDITO– A Tito’s vodka mojito with CBD Extract $12

Cucumber Lemonade– Hendrick’s Gin with homemade lemonade and CBD extract $12

Wake & Bake– A Jack Daniel’s cocktail infused with CBD extract that taste like waffles and syrup $9

The Caregiver’s Daughter– This fruity cocktail made is made with Southern Comfort and infused with CBD extract $9

Doobie Snack– Malibu, melon liquor, Crème de Banana, pineapple juice and CBD extract $9

Spinelli’s Pizzeria is at 420 S. Mill Ave. Tempe 85281. For more information follow Spinelli’s on Instagram and Facebook

Tickets available for Tuscon’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival

If you’re not familiar with the Tuscon food and wine scene now is a great opportunity to get to know it. This Saturday’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival showcases southern Arizona’s restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries at the Tucson Botanical Garden. Over 60 participants will be offering tastes and sips of their food and drinks.

The 6th annual event promotes the region as a serious player on the national food scene. The festival is co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and Tuscon Botanical Garden. The three non-profits promote the cultural uniqueness that southern Arizona has to offer.

“The Savor Food and Wine Festival not only showcases the rich and delicious culture of the region, but highlights the importance of supporting these local food businesses in our daily lives,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Much of Southern Arizona’s local economy is driven by those in the dining, culinary, and local foods industries. Without them, we wouldn’t have the diverse culture and economy that we see today in Tucson and beyond.”

Tastes and sips at SAVOR Food & Wine Festival

Festival goers can expect to taste delicious foods from new restaurants along with long time Tucson favorites. A few of the restaurants participating include…..

Pastiche Modern Eatery, Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, Omni Tuscon National, Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon, Casino Del Sol, El Cisne Cocina de Mexico and Brushfire BBQ.

Wineries, distilleries and breweries include….. Barrio Brewing, Caduceus Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Co. Whiskey Del Bac, Mother Road Brewing Co. and Adventurous Stills.

Guests will also enjoy educational food demonstrations, live music, unique art displays and a raffle. Admission includes Butterfly Magic and the “Out of the Woods” exhibit on tour from the New York Botanical Garden.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with tickets costing $79. Tickets are available at https://www.saaca.org/

The Tuscon Botanical Garden is at 2150 N. Alveron Way.

 

The Phoenician Tavern to attract resort guests and locals when it opens

What was once Relish Burger Bistro at The Phoenician Resort transforms into The Phoenician Tavern this spring. The new restaurant and bar will offer guests a relaxed atmosphere and a stunning view of the resorts golf course. When The Phoenician Tavern opens it will be part of  the final phase of the properties three-year multi-million dollar re-model.

The new restaurant and bar will be attractive to resort guests and locals with its comfortable and contemporary design.

“It’s a friendly, traditional, tavern-style ambiance, where you can catch the game or enjoy a beer with your neighbors, but it also happens to have some of the most stunning views around,” said The Phoenician’s Director of Food & Beverage Lisa Mercer.

The Phoenican Tavern
All photos courtesy of Awe Collective

The Phoenician Tavern menu

Chef de Cuisine Michael Press has created a menu of “pub grub” favorites with ingredients of the highest quality at the AAA Five Diamond resort. Gourmet burgers, fish & chips, appetizers and more will be available for lunch, happy hour and dinner.

12 regional craft beers will be on tap along with almost 50 canned and bottled beers. Signature cocktails including The Blueberry Manhattan, Blood Orange Martini and more will also be available.

Win Happy Hour for a year

Before the tavern opens 100 locals will be picked to win a custom key for happy hour pricing for a year. A Sunday Funday prize pack will also be up grabs. Included will be a round of golf for 2, happy and dinner and an overnight stay at the resort. To enter both giveaways and more information head to https://www.thephoeniciantavern.com/

The Phoenician Resort is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

 

 

The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale now offers weekend brunch

In the heart of old town Scottsdale sits the colorful Saguaro Hotel and it’s signature restaurant La Senora. The trendy hotel started serving weekend brunch in January offering breakfast starting at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. For those looking for a more lunch inspired brunch the All Day menu starts at 11 a.m.

The breakfast menu includes Chiliquiles Verdes, Avocado Toast, Banana Foster Buttermilk Pancakes and a Citrus Cured Steelhead Trout Bagel.

The All Day menu includes Chicken Tinga Quesadilla, Cactus Tacos and The Saguaro’s take on a Sonoran Hot Dog. Like the breakfast menu there’s more offered to choose from.

The Trout Bagel. All photos courtesy of Erin Weinstock at Sydell Creative

Executive chef Caesar Vasquez takes pride in the authenticity and house made ingredients in the traditional dishes served. From the house made chorizo and berry compote at breakfast or the corn tortillas for tacos all are made from scratch.

The Saguaro Scottsdale Brunch Specials

Two new specials are offered during weekend brunch, Gluten Free Churros($9) and Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight($12).

The Gluten Free Churros are made in-house and prepared when ordered. Sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon they come served with Mexican caramel (Cajeta) and chocolate dipping sauces.

Watermelon
“Eating out with friends can be difficult when dietary restrictions hold you back from enjoying your favorite foods,” said Maritza Portillo, Director of Food & Beverage Outlets. “Not at The Saguaro! Here, we created a dish that everyone

can share. Our churros are so good, we’re sure you won’t be able to tell they’re gluten-free!”
The Desert Dawn Mimosa Flight compliments your sweet, spicy or savory relaxing weekend brunch . The Saguaro Classic, Prickly Pear and Grapefruit Mimosa’s offer a refreshing start to the day. “Your drinks should be as beautiful as your surroundings. We took the colorful tones of The Saguaro and the unique flavors of the desert landscape to create a mimosa flight that is sure to impress,” said Portillo.
Hand-crafted cocktails are available by the glass or by the pitcher including The Saguaro Belle. Sweet and spicy it’s made with pineapple vodka, sparkling wine, honey, jalapeno and lime.
The Saguaro Hotel Scottsdale is at 4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd. Scottsdale 85251. For more information or to see the full menus visit their website.

 

 

Mixologist Kyla Dahl brings new cocktails to Taco Guild

Central Phoenix’s Taco Guild restaurant takes the new year pretty seriously as they’ve introduced new cocktails and food. The new cocktails were crafted by new mixologist Kyla Dahl who comes to Taco Guild after spending the last few years crafting cocktails at Scottsdale’s Liberty Station Smokehouse. It was there she learned to make creative cocktails and make a name for herself in the Phoenix cocktail community.

Chamoyada. All photos courtesy of Claire Natalie at Evolve Marketing

New cocktails

Dahl has shaken things up with 7 new cocktails that pair well with Taco Guild’s Mexican food. All the new cocktails are priced at $12 each. Most of the new drinks use tequila or mezcal with a few of the drinks listed below.

      Chamoyada – Chamuccos blanco tequila, hibiscus, orange, mangonada, Tajin.

      Don Juan – Mexican rum, pepitas, lime, lemon, Curacao, dark rum.

·         Ponche – apple-infused gin, mango, orange piloncillo.

Seasonal Mezcal Mule – Mezcal mixed with seasonal flavor, lime and ginger beer

Taco Guild’s new dishes

The new chef driven dishes are spread throughout the menu from appetizers, tacos and dessert. There are 10 new dishes available for lunch and dinner and include…..

Grilled Shrimp Bruschetta – citrus chile shrimp, guacamole, tomato corn salsa on top of house-made bruschetta. $12

Fundido – Oaxaca and Monterey Jack cheese blend with Serrano pepper, caramelized onion, tequila and mushrooms. Guests can now choose to add-on a variety of proteins

The Conquistador – chef’s choice charcuterie and cheese board served with nuts, jam, mustard and house-made bruschetta. $15

Cartel Coffee Beef Taco – Locally roasted Cartel coffee is used to season the beef before slow roasting it then it is topped with fresh jicama, cilantro and avocado. $4.95

Clandestino Shrimp Taco – Citrus-chile marinated shrimp are grilled then topped with avocado, chimichurri and cabbage slaw. $4.95

Chocolate Torte – A rich and dense chocolate torte with cashews, almonds, walnuts, cacao, coconut and sea salt.

Taco Guild is at 546 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix 85012.

 

TasteAbout Scottsdale to raise money for wounded military personnel

Expecting over 3,000 people to converge on Kierland Commons next weekend organizing TasteAbout Scottsdale is no easy feat. It’s nothing compared to what wounded military personnel have gone through serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military personnel will benefit from the hungry attendee’s as TasteAbout Scottsdale has partnered with Jared Allen’s Home for Wounded Warriors.

The food and beverage event takes place Saturday January 26th from 2 -9 p.m. with over 30 restaurants participating. In addition to tasting food and drinks there will be live music, a Burger Beatdown and speed painting.

“We are thrilled to bring together so many food and beverage purveyors all in one place to highlight the unique culinary talents in Arizona and benefit an important cause,” says Erik Merkow, founder and CEO of TasteAbout Scottsdale. “With every event, we take great pleasure in finding a platform for residents and visitors of the area to discover some of the best local restaurants, breweries, distilleries and more in a fun and entertaining atmosphere, while also giving back to the community.”

TasteAbout Scottsdale participants

The list of popular local restaurants, breweries and distilleries that will be providing sips and tastes is updated daily. Popular restaurants serving up include Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Famous 48, Kasai, Modern Oyster & Chophouse and Eggtasy to name few. Sip on beer from San Tan Brewing, Grand Canyon Brewing and Beer Research Institute.

Frankly Organic Spirits, Arizona Distilling and Dulce Vida Tequila will be pouring their spirits.

Local foodies will judge which popular chef serves the best and most creative burger at the Burger Beatdown. Guests will vote for Best Dish, Best Craft Beer, Best Drink and Best sweet Dish.

Once all votes are tallied the winners will be notified in the days after the event.

Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors.

Former NFL player Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors is a non-profit that builds and remodels homes for handicapped military personnel.

Artist Katia Von Kral will be showing off her “speed painting” talents for the event. Proceeds from her paintings sold at the event will be donated to the non-profit.

Tickets for the 21 and over event are available at Eventbrite. General Admission tickets are $65 per person and includes all tastes of food and drinks. VIP tickets are $85 and include 2 tokens for full pour drinks, VIP Garden access, Express Entry. Ultra VIP Tickets are $125 and come with 5 full pour drink tokens, a VIP swag Bag, VIP Garden Access and express entry.

 

 

 

The Bourbon Cellar has a large bourbon selection and steakhouse dining

With a name like The Bourbon Cellar you know theirs a lot of the Kentucky whiskey on hand. Over 300 selections of bourbon, one of the largest collections in the Arizona dining scene, some may say the most at this new north Scottsdale steakhouse.

There’s more than bourbon from chef and owner Doug Smith. A farm-to-table high-end steakhouse with a menu that features seasonal ingredients that Smith sources himself.

Smith purchases season vegetables from local farmer’s markets and flies in fresh seafood from daily from around the country and Canada. He hand cuts his own beef, pork, elk, bison and venison purchased from his own butcher shop French’s Meats in Scottsdale.

Photos courtesy of The Bourbon Cellar and Bridges Media Group

“By eliminating the vendors, I can take quality control into my own hands to ensure every guests that dines with us is getting the absolute freshest meal around,” says Smith. “For me, cooking and serving food is not only a way to creatively express myself but also give diners a taste experience they’ve never had before with food that is familiar.”

On the menu at The Bourbon Cellar

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner with a large menu that includes hand ground 1/2 lb. burgers & sandwiches, salads, appetizers and signature dishes.

Appetizers include crab cakes, Wasabi Deviled Eggs and PEI mussels. All cuts of beef are USDA Prime including Bone-in Rib-eye, a 6, 10 or 14 oz. cuts of Filet Mignon and more.

Bacon wrapped Sea Scallops

Seafood options change daily such as Halibut, Salmon, Ahi Tuna, Swordfish and Sea Scallops.

Seasonal desserts are made daily and side dishes are included with burgers and sandwiches. Sides are a la carte with signature dishes at dinner.

Bourbon selection

With the vast selection of bourbon guest can sip bourbon cocktails and 45 day aged bourbons. The 45 day aged bourbons offer deep character profiles from their barrel maturing. If you’re not sure which bourbons to choose from you can order a flight of bourbon. Bourbon also makes a great pairing for any of the dishes on the menu.

A full bar is available for non-bourbon drinkers.

3rd Wednesday buffet

Smith, a veteran offers a full buffet every 3rd Wednesday of the month from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. All of the $15 from these dinners are donated American Legion posts in Phoenix, Cave Creek and Anthem.

The Bourbon Cellar is at 23623 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85255 and opens daily at 11:00 a.am.

For more information and to view the menu see website.